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Kangaroos continue to impress, Saints fail to turn up and Port claim first victory with Sydney annihilation


North Melbourne

The Kangas continue to impress me. The way they move the footy around the ground and keep the pressure on teams all game long proves to me that they will be a top-four side this season.

It feels like nobody is talking about the Kangaroos, and the competition and the media will have a rude awakening late in the season when the Kangas upset a top team potentially in the finals. I’d just like everyone to know that I called it first.

Vikki Wall kicked two goals in this game against the Cats; she is going to be a star of the AFLW!

Geelong

The Cats were unlucky to lose on Friday night. They were the better team for the majority of the game, but they simply could not put the ball in between the big sticks, something they have struggled with all season. Their defensive pressure was again impressive besides the second quarter, where they let the Kangas kick one too many goals.

If the Cats can figure out a way to kick more goals from their inside 50s, they will also be a surprise team come finals time. Georgie Prespakis had an insane 32 disposals and is low-key on track to win the AFLW best and fairest come seasons end.

Geelong players celebrate after Georgie Prespakis kicked the winning goal against Richmond.

Geelong players celebrate after Georgie Prespakis kicked the winning goal against Richmond. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

GWS

The Giants had the same problem a lot of teams have had this season; not being able to score goals. GWS are much better when they can play their style of slow, methodical football, which the Eagles did not allow them to do. They ware forced to play a fast-paced, play-on style of football, and they didn’t once try to slow the game down.

Anytime the Eagles kicked inside 50, and the Giants got an intercept, they immediately bombed the ball back out without finding a target which cost them the win.

West Coast

Every time I doubt the Eagles, they come back the next week and prove me wrong. I should just stop talking about them because this week, they took the Giants on and applied such an immense amount of pressure all game which helped them win by a goal.

Every score came from moving the ball directly through the corridor on the rebound, and their second quarter was elite. I’m excited to watch the Eagles in the coming weeks because they are such a mystery box, and no one can ever know which style of footy they’ll bring to the game.

Gold Coast

I have a new favourite AFLW player, and her name is Kalinda Howarth. And it’s not because she kicked two goals, or because she had 22 touches, most of which were effective. I wasn’t enamoured by her being best on ground and leading her team to a convincing victory over the Saints. No.

Howarth kicked a miraculous set shot goal from the boundary line and proceeded to griddy right in from of her defender. And then backed it up with a dominating performance. Enough said. Any player who can griddy like that has instantly won my heart, but a player who is elite too.

Other AFLW players are going to have to try harder because Howarth is a queen!

St Kilda

The Saints were incredibly disappointing. They started strong but immediately went into their shells. They honestly looked like they didn’t show up to play after the first five minutes. Even when they had the wind advantage, they refused to use it. Their defence was poor, and their midfield was very quiet for most of the game.

I will say that the Saints have a dominant forward duo in Caitlin Greiser and Kate Shierlaw, whom they should look to utilise more to help spark energy into their side. I seem to talk about those two every week… I wonder why that is?

(Photo by Mark Evans/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Port Adelaide

The Power have done it. Their first AFLW victory and they saved the moment for their famous Alberton crowd, who were out in full force despite the weather.

They showcased how good at moving the football forward they can be and how impressive their pressure game is. They have been building to this moment, and I had a smile on my face from the moment they hit the lead to the final siren.

Impossible to discuss Port Adelaide without talking about Hannah Ewings, who kicked her first, second and third goal in AFLW footy this weekend. Ewings was even compared to Dustin Martin by the commentary team – we can all slow our roll with comparisons like that. But also, I wouldn’t be surprised if she continued to mould her game like Dusty; she just looks like all she ever wants to do is play footy.

Erin Phillips played her 50th game, and most were disappointed that she couldn’t slot her first goal for Port. I have held off on discussing Phillips all season because I couldn’t quite figure out her role in this team, but last week sitting in the famous stands of Ikon Park, I figured it out, and this week, her performance cemented it.

I have too many things to say, so look out for an Erin Phillips exclusive article written by yours truly in the future because I could go for hours.

Sydney

The Swans have now reached a crucial point in their season. If they continue the way they have been going, they will likely conclude the season as the worst club to ever field a team in the AFLW competition. Their opportunity to score a victory is next weekend when they take on the also struggling Hawks.

My only bright spot is Montana Ham. She returned from injury much faster than expected, and despite the extravagant amount of tape on her knee, still looked miles better than every other Swan. Her 20 disposals all looked clean and despite only having played two AFLW games now, is clearly a much cleaner user of the football than most other players in the league.

It’s a bit of an obvious statement for a No.1 draft pick, but keep an eye on Ham. She will not be a draft bust!

Fremantle

Freo, Freo, Freo. You continue to improve every week, and you continue to impress me with your mental toughness and unwillingness to give in. Many other teams would have thrown in the towel after starting 0-3 and looking very average in most games, but not you.

The Dockers really took it to Carlton in the first half, and I think they surprised the Blues with how much run and carry they can have, and how much continual half-back pressure they can apply.

If not for her disastrous final kick to set the game up for a draw, Aine Tighe kicked two goals and looked out and out a better player than whichever defender was lined up on her. But sometimes athletes aren’t judged on their consistent ability or how good they look in the first quarter, it’s what they do when it matters most.

Tighe will likely never forget that kick that could have won the game for her team. Hopefully, she builds from it and does not let it break her down.

Carlton

The Blues were very lucky to walk away with a draw. Their first half was lacklustre, and they never even showed up until after half-time. When they did show up and start playing, they looked virtually unstoppable. The Dockers could barely move the ball around in the second half without being immediately tackled, and good luck to them ever winning a hit out or a stoppage.

There were so many standout players, from Vaomua Laloifi, an obvious best on ground, to Annie Lee being moved up forward to kick her first AFLW goal. Keeley Sherar played incredibly well and seemed to be the toughest player on the ground. For an 18-year-old, she has such a bright future in this game

Hawthorn

The Hawks should be really proud of the performance they put together against the Doggies. If you look at just the final score, you might make the incorrect assumption that the Hawks played poorly and didn’t compete, but you would be mistaken.

Hawthorn moved the ball around the ground very methodically even in the shocking, wet-weather conditions, they had an exuberant number of forward entries (particularly in the final term), and they never dropped their heads, even when down by 30 points.

If the conditions were better and their forwards were able to take a few pack marks inside 50, the Hawks were a real chance to upset the Doggies at Box Hill. Skipper Tilly Lucas-Rodd was everywhere and played her best game of the season with 19 touches and five tackles.

Western Bulldogs

The Bulldogs haven’t been the best at putting teams away. Sure, they were up 30 points at full time, and the Hawks had virtually no chance of winning the game in the last term, but the Doggies really didn’t seem to care in that final quarter.

Gabby Newton of the Western Bulldogs celebrates a goal.

(Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Their defence did hold strong, though, not conceding more than two scores all game, and the majority of their goals came from their superstar midfield trio of Kirsty Lamb, Ellie Blackburn and Isabelle Pritchard.

The Doggies sit equal top of the table after four rounds, but they will be challenged for four quarters next week by the Kangas; I’m excited to see how they respond.

Collingwood

The Pies frustrated me with all their turnovers as they attempted to head inside 50. They had so many chances to win the game with shots on goal, but they should never have allowed Adelaide to even be in the contest. I cannot count the number of times Collingwood worked the ball up from their backline only to turn the ball over on their half-forward line with a poor attacking kick.

Sabrina Frederick played her best game of the season and was the best Collingwood player on the ground. Her rucking was immaculate, and her defence (a role she’s not known for playing) was impeccable. Hopefully she stays in this good form because she’s so exciting to watch.

Adelaide

The Crows had no business winning this game, but the fact that they did proves their toughness and their fight. They never gave up and utilised the chances they were given, they didn’t waste a moment.

The media is too bullish on the Crows, but they do keep winning, so nobody really has a reason to doubt them. I am cautiously optimistic about their future; there just doesn’t seem to be a way for them to win if their opposition makes the most of their chances.

Essendon

The Bombers, despite being a brand new AFLW club, have not let any team walk all over them. They have proved how good they can be, and I’m incredibly excited for their future – if you’re a Bombers fan, not something you get to feel often.

Amber Clarke kicked her first goal in AFLW footy late in the game to bring the Bombers to within one point, which is a level of clutch from a fourth-gamer I love to see.

Their superstar players in Madison Prespakis and Bonnie Toogood were quiet all day which needs to change if they’re going to be victorious in the future, although it is promising that the Bombers can only lose by two points without much of an impact from their stars. It shows great depth.

Madison Prespakis of Essendon in action.

Madison Prespakis of Essendon in action. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Richmond

The Tigers keep getting better every week, but I don’t want to talk about the team – I want to talk about their superstar Monique Conti. Conti had 15 scintillating disposals, all of which made an impact in some manner, and her goal in the pocket was sublime. Pencil her in for the league’s best and fairest, and in a few weeks’ time, you might be able to change that pencil mark to permanent ink.

Eilish Sheerin has also come into her own and looks to be in Richmond’s best three players every week, absolutely starring against the Bombers. Exciting things are happening at Tigerland.

Melbourne

The Demons suffered their first defeat of season 7 after the Lions rolled them by 15 points at home. And I say rolled because again, Narrm got out to an incredibly hot start but lacked the effort and the drive to hold onto their lead.

Two weeks in a row, the Demons have made such a fast break and let their foot off the gas, this week to their detriment. It’s hard to really point blame or even find the weakness. It just appears as if they weren’t actually close to being better than the Lions; they just surprised them with a dominant first 15 minutes.

Kate Hore kicked two of those first-quarter goals, and I was settling in for her to have a mammoth game that never eventuated. You wouldn’t want to be the team that comes up against Naarm next week, though – they won’t hold back (looking at you two-draws-in-a-row Carlton).

Brisbane

I have never been more bullish about a team after four weeks than I am about Brisbane. They dominate in all areas of the ground, and if they can learn to show up in their first quarters, they might have the first undefeated AFLW season. No other team looks anywhere good enough to stop them, and their goal kicking is far and away the best in the comp.

How many other teams do I talk about not taking their chances in front of goal or when they enter the forward 50? The Lions simply do not have any of those issues but can also move the ball up the ground with such pace that other teams are often left scrambling like Naarm were.

I might book my flight up to Brissie now because that is where the Grand Final is going to be held. Who they take on remains to be seen.





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